Spiral Knights Review
Spiral Knights is one of those quirky games that is a little bit hard to define. This does not make it bad, necessarily – in fact, I would go so far as to say this greatly enhances the game itself. Combining both fantasy and sci-fi genres with their use of fantastical creatures, knights, and advanced technology, this adorable game balances it all out perfectly.
Players take on the role of an apprentice of the titular group, Spiral Knights. Part of the Skylark crew, these knights had left into space in hopes of finding a way to save their homeland. What from, it is not initially known. Instead, due to a mysterious energy signature, the Skylarks find themselves crash landing on a planet known as “Cradle” and are forced to not only find a way to survive, but figure out just what it is that makes this odd planet so strange.
Spiral Knights makes use of graphics best described as “simple, but smooth”. Despite their not being much put into it detailing wise, the style is still of a very good quality. With its pastel color scheme (save for the Knights themselves, who make use of whatever colors they choose, dark or light) and vaguely uncomplicated world style (not to say anything poorly of the dungeons or puzzles), as well as the chibi-esque character design, “cute” would be a good summary of this game’s aesthetic.
In terms of the game’s soundtrack, there is not much to be said. To be perfectly honest, I did not notice much of one while playing, far more distracted by the gameplay and sound effects provided by the game’s weapons and enemies. You don’t always need a decent music choice for a game to be good, and Spiral Knights proves this.
Players have the option of designing their very own Spiral Knight, and giving it a name. The game makes things a tad interesting with the latter, in that unlike most games, only letters are allowed to be used within the name. This makes it a little more difficult to avoid using the same name (which will result in the character being rejected until this is rectified), but definitely pushes for a more unique player experience.
Players have a range of customizable options for their Knights. They get to choose the “personal color” (referring to the form beneath the armor) for their Knights, as well as the armor color itself using a color wheel. Helmet, armor, and the choice of up to two different helmet accessories are all available from preset designs for players to choose from. Combining these with the options for height (short, medium, or tall), and style of eyes (helping show a wide range of emotions in an otherwise mute character – beyond text dialogue or player voice chat, that is) makes for an inclusive and investing game.
Non-playable characters take on a fairly generic role in this game, much like most MMO games. However, there are a few who provide option-based textual conversations, so there is a bonus to be found there. This is likely due to the fact the game makes a point of emphasizing heavily on player on player interaction, rather than the chance solo gameplay – as even with MMO games, some are want to do so.
As stated before, Spiral Knights takes a great effort in making sure players enjoying the game together and interacting is its highest priority. Players have the opportunity to compete in both a general and concentrated sense. The former is done through unlocking in-game achievements, and working their way up the leader boards in ranking. The latter is done through completing missions together, forming guilds with other players, and taking part in the Coliseum (described further below). Missions in the game automatically place microphone-ready players on a voice chat – something to keep in mind before playing, as I experienced members of the team I was placed on at random evidently being unaware of this. Or just not caring that we could all hear them calling out to their mother – it’s hard to say when it comes to younger gamers.
Spiral Knight is very accommodating when it comes to its controls – whether you prefer using an Xbox gamepad, your mouse, your keyboard, or a mix of these options, all are available when it comes to players controlling their characters.
There is an abundance of activity available for players as well. Missions range from talking to the right person, to exploring dungeons in randomly-selected teams, where teamwork is a required aspect to complete some of the puzzles. Monsters found in these areas sometimes maintain the “cute” design found in Spiral Knights in terms of creatures such as jelly-like cubes, and little chameleons, or aggressive looking “underworld” beasts. Each player is equipped with a gun and sword, and are free to switch between the two with ease, using whatever they feel comfortable – although there are times where one may hold benefit over the other, such as blowing up explosive cubes from a distance.
Players also have the opportunity to take part in the Coliseum – an open arena for fighters and spectators alike. Be it the dominating “Lockdown” scenario (which appears to be similar to a game of king of the hill, without the hill), or the chaotic “Blast Network” (where players are encouraged to bomb each other in all directions, there’s definitely fun to be had. Guild members especially get a unique experience, in that there are designated zones for “guild matches”, and specific areas in the two styles of Coliseum battle made just for rival guilds to compete against each other.
Spiral Knights Review: Conclusion
Overall, Spiral Knights is definitely a game I would recommend for anyone who has a group of friends ready to join them. I personally believe this would make the game more fun to play, but as someone who tried this out by themselves, I would not say that solo players should keep moving. Check out this game, and have some old-school fun!